Identity Theft 2010

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Identity theft is a very real and immediate danger to millions of people here in the United States, and the statistics for 2010 won’t provide any relief from this growing epidemic. With an economy that is still suffering and a downcast real estate market in most areas, identity theft is on the rise.

Identity Theft in 2010: The Facts

According to Javelin Strategies, a research firm that compiled a statistical report on the identity theft crisis in this country, predicts that 2010 will be an even more detrimental year for millions of Americans and their identities. In 2009, 11.1 million adults had their identities stolen, which led to $54B of fraud. The average adult will spend $373 and 21 hours trying to resolve issues related to their stolen identity which, 13 percent of the time was committed by a family member, friend, or acquaintance rather than a stranger. This means that in 2009 alone, 4.8 percent of the adult population suffered from identity theft.

These statistics from 2009 suggest that in 2010, one in every twenty adults will become victims of identity theft. If you receive a letter from a business that informs you their security was breached, your chances of identity theft increase to one in four. Although the government is trying to catch up with this relatively new type of fraud, it is still slow to act and identity theft is often difficult to trace and prove. Identity thieves are also finding new ways of stealing identities, meaning it’s your responsibility to be as vigilant as possible so you don’t become one of these statistics in 2010.

Another reason identity theft is predicted to rise in 2010 is because identity thieves use unsecure networks like Facebook, Twitter and MySpace to hack in and steal not only your personal information but those of your friends as well. Once your account with one of these networks is compromised, it’s often only a matter of time before your account information is used to steal your identity and even hack into your bank account to rob you. Finally, young adults and small business owners are also in a high-risk group because of tendencies to use personal information on public computers and use the internet for financial transactions.

Don’t Become an Identity Theft Statistic

There are things you can do to dramatically decrease your chances of becoming a victim of identity theft, such as guarding your password for accounts with Facebook, MySpace and Twitter and changing them frequently. You should also report any odd charges on your credit cards, even charges of a few cents, as well as odd withdrawals from your bank accounts. This could help prevent a larger future loss.

Also, consider using a company like LifeLock to protect your identity and prevent criminals from using your identity for fraudulent purposes. LifeLock isn’t very expensive but will continuously monitor the many avenues criminals often take to steal a person’s identity and will help ensure that you don’t wind up just another identity theft statistic in 2010.

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